Facebook strangles cartoon, freedom of expression

Facebook strangles cartoon, freedom of expression

SRINAGAR: Social networking giant Facebook pulled down a cartoon made by noted Kashmiri cartoonist Mir Suhail on the third death anniversary of Afzal Guru, who was secretly hanged in connection with the attack on Indian Parliament in 2001.

Afzal was hanged by the Indian state after serving more than 13 in years in the jail on 9 February 2013. He was buried in the Tihar Jail premises.
Suhail’s cartoon depicted roots growing out of Guru’s grave in Tihar Jail and connecting to roots of a large tree, Kashmir.
Suhail told Kashmir Reader that he noticed the cartoon had been deleted from his Facebook page on Tuesday morning.
“As usual I uploaded the cartoon on my page, Mir Suhail, and it was widely shared in a short period of time. At 11am when I logged onto the page again I was shocked to find that it had been was deleted,” Suhail said, adding he was later blocked from messaging or posting anything on the site.
He later shot a message to the Facebook authorities, asking why his cartoon had been pulled down, but till late evening he had received no response.
Suhail has more than 32,000 followers on his FB page. He has contributed for many Indian and international magazines, portraying human rights violations, environmental and social issues.
“The blocked cartoon showed what people have been demanding, that is, Afzal Guru’s mortal remains. I fail to understand what is wrong in it,” Suhail said.
“Blocking my cartoon deflates Facebook’s claims of freedom of expression. My cartoon in no way breached any standards set by the Facebook. Yes my cartoons may be disliked by a section of people which is true for any form of communication, but it does not justify muzzling the dissenting voice,” Suhail added.

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